Strengthening the Capacity for Dissemination of Integrated Soil Fertility Management Technologies in East and Southern Africa


29 Apr 2016

2015 Annual Interpretive Summary

Despite the potential of Integrated Soil Fertility Management (ISFM) technologies to improve crop productivity in sub-Saharan Africa (SSA), adoption by farmers has been very limited. The underlying challenges include poor integration of existing knowledge and lack of effective knowledge products for farmers, extension agents and policy makers. Recognizing IPNI’s leadership role in plant nutrition research, development and partnership development, a $2 million (USD) grant was awarded to IPNI by the Alliance for a Green Revolution in Africa (AGRA) to establish and backstop a soil health consortia of eight countries (Kenya, Uganda, Tanzania, Rwanda, Malawi, Mozambique, Ethiopia, and Zambia) with a focus on: (i) harmonization of ISFM information at the country and regional level, (ii) development of a regional database for agronomic information, and (iii) develop communication products to support farmers and policy makers to make informed decisions on investment in ISFM technologies.

Soil health consortia have been established in the eight countries bringing together extension workers, researchers, fertilizer and seed input suppliers, and plant and soil laboratories. Currently, the consortia have a membership of over 200 institutions and 2,000 individuals. The consortia are integrated at the regional level to allow the flow of information on best agricultural practices and agricultural innovations across the countries. More than 10,000 published and raw datasets have been collected and collated, and one stop repositories for agricultural and ISFM information established for each country. The materials held in these repositories include information on soil fertility management, best management practices for different crops and geographies, soil maps, policy documents, guides for agricultural extension agents, and training modules. The consortia have also developed a range of communication products which include policy briefs, extension guidelines, manuals and books of abstracts which have been distributed to over 100,000 stakeholders. Between 2014 and 2015 the consortia reached over 4 million people with different packages of agricultural information. Through the consortia, IPNI has trained 400 researchers on data collection, data quality control, development of communication products, socio economic data analysis and fertilizer recommendations. The consortia has also provided guidance for agricultural policy formulations in Kenya, Tanzania, and Zambia, in addition to supporting development of agricultural curriculum for Rwanda colleges. The databases developed by the consortia are being used to support decision making by agricultural/fertilizer investments programs in SSA.